Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh Dear...We're Going to Be Bringing a Baby Home

There is a word - and this will date me a bit - that used to be uttered by the Saturday Night Live character Linda Richman when she became overcome with emotion. That word, verklempt, was exactly the word I'd use to describe how I feel when I walk into the nursery these days.

For a while, the room now designated the nursery was our guest room. As we began our wedding preparations almost two years ago, it became a landing pad for various wedding paraphernalia. When we came home from the wedding weekend with carloads of that same stuff, it landed in the room again. But when we found out that we were expecting, and determined that this was the room that would make the best nursery, for a while, it became a hodgepodge of both wedding stuff, luggage, AND baby stuff.

It was, in short, a mess. A mess I could close the door on and pretend wasn't there. And as long as it wasn't there, there was a part of me that thought as long as we didn't open the door and start working on a nursery, I wouldn't have to go through labor. I wouldn't have to worry about scheduled C-sections, giant babies, or anything else. Why? Because there was no place to put a giant baby (or even, really, a tiny baby). Problem solved.

Of course, that was the irrational, hormonal pregnant brain talking. I knew that this baby is coming regardless of the state of that room, and as construction on the bathroom remodel began winding down, my husband and I began determining what would go to charity, what would go in the attic for later, and what would be moved to another room. Out went the guest bed, as we turned our office into a dual purpose room for both guests and work. Books we haven't read in a while went in a pile to go to a local used book store. Wedding stuff was boxed up and put in the attic.

Slowly, the room became cleared of its former life, and the only thing left was baby stuff. Then came Sunday, when we decided to put the crib together. After an initial mishap with putting the wrong screws in the wrong holes, we stood in the nursery, marveling at this crib (with one mysterious screw that didn't really go anywhere, sitting idly by), when we realized that a baby would go in it.

And I got a little lump in my throat. Right now, all the furniture is in the center of the room, and I'm sure it'll grow bigger after this weekend, when my in-laws will come over to help paint the nursery. I'm being taken away from the house for some pampering with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, but I know the sight of the nursery, painted and waiting for us to arrange furniture and hang artwork and window treatments, will have me verklempt. And the completed nursery? Well, count on tears.

I keep saying this, but it is true - it feels like I just took a pregnancy test, and told my husband the good news. This pregnancy - even with the constant nausea of the first trimester - has flown by. I find myself a little wistful at times, especially when I feel this little one stretch, and can actually see little fist outlines. We're no longer talking months away from meeting Baby E, but weeks. The calendar is full of baby showers, pediatrician meetings and childbirth classes - all things that signal a pregnancy is winding down, and parenthood is imminent.

I can't wait, but gosh ... I'm also verklempt.

Bethany Erickson is 31 weeks pregnant and the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson.

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